Originally Published: June 14, 2015 6:05 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Step inside the Mountain Spirit Co-Op and a shroud of serenity envelopes the visitor, the bustle of downtown disappearing amid the scents, visual arts, calming tunes and quiet conversation.
All of the natural healing practitioners, spiritual counselors and artists strive to create a place of respite, where all are guaranteed a warm welcome.
"Everybody deserves to be respected, and that's what we're working for," said co-op founder Dana Cummins.
"Some just come in because they need to feel the vibe," Cummins said. "The homeless come in to get water, or people bring their dogs for a biscuit. We keep a box of food on a table for anyone."
As a co-op, Cummins said each practitioner has their own specialty. What they all share is a commitment to providing a safe haven for "a greater good," she said.
Nine-and-a-half years ago, Cummins embarked on a journey to heal herself from a dire diagnosis of bladder cancer, one she initiated after conventional doctors offered her little hope.
"They didn't know why I was still alive," the 50-year-old said of her diagnosis of a massive bladder tumor.
With no medical insurance and an aversion to conventional testing and surgical treatment, Cummins opted to seek a naturopath and an acupuncturist.
"For a year, we worked together," Cummins said of a regime that combined meditation, three-times-a-week acupuncture and a diet of herbal remedies.
And her cancer abated.
Unlike some who lament their birthdays, Cummins this year experienced the opposite.
"I say with glee I made it to 50," said Cummins who admits that even as a child she suffered suicidal thoughts that turned into an attempt as a teenager. "I had a powerful death urge all of my life, so to make it to 50 is pretty astonishing for me."
She shares her "incredible journey" of healing with others as a "sign of taking my power back."
The story resonated with fellow alternative healing advocates such that nine years ago they opted to open the business that started with just one room on the top floor of the former Masonic Temple on North Cortez Street. Nine years later, the co-op is located in the downstairs portion of the building and has five healing rooms, a yoga studio, a lending library, and four art galleries, one of which is on Whiskey Row.
Their newsletter is distributed to more than 3,000 people. Once a month, the co-op offers a "Day of Service" where the co-op is open to the public to come and visit the various practitioners with all donations are given to local charities.
For Nivare', the owner of a tiny shop in the rear of the first-floor called "Calling in the Light,' the co-op has proved a "fabulous' opportunity to offer her brand of healing that includes selling a variety of Egyptian, Indian and Native American jewelry, natural-ingredient soaps and healing oils. She has a copy of King Tut's chair in a corner where people are invited to sit and relax. The rule: no cellphones.
"Anybody in the co-op is a conduit for healing,' Nivare' said. "I think it (the co-op) brings a lot to the community."
Reiki practitioner and indigenous healer Dawn Gilbreath said she gave up a mental health job with benefits to come to the co-op so she could practice healing in a place devoted to alternative disciplines. Her one regret is that it is "underutilized.'
"But it's a good place to be," she said.
"I really feel home here,' Cummins concluded.
Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter@HutsonNanci Reach her at 928-445-3333 Ext. 2041 or 928-642-6809.